Exports surge by €9 billion to reach a new high of €183 billion for year 2012

Mr John Whelan, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), stated at the launch of the Review; “Ireland’s export growth at twice the world trade average for 2012 shows a strong return to competitiveness in many our businesses.”

He went on to say; ’’Ireland is now seen as the prime location in Europe for hi –tech mobile, internet and social media technology companies. There is no doubt that there is a direct link between the increased success in this sector and our increased competitiveness, which if maintained will enable ensure significant long term jobs growth. Services exports now account for 49% of total exports and are expected exceed 50% next year.’’

In its Year End 2012 Export Industry Review, the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) stated;

  • Irish exports grew by 5% in the year, which was double the World trade growth, and shows a return to competitive strength in many sectors of Irish industry.
  • Exports surged by €9 billion in 2012 to reach a new high of €183 billion.
  • Services exports were the main driver of export growth last year, with an11% growth which consolidated Ireland’s ranking as the 9th largest global exporter of Services.
  • Manufactured goods exports showed no growth in the year. Growth took place in medical devices exports of 6% and in agri-food exports of 2%,however exports of computer hardware continued their long term decline and fell by 16% , and pharmaceutical and chemical exports showed no growth as the off –patent drugs peaked in impacting the sector in 2012.

Looking forward, the Irish Exporters Association is confident that export growth in 2013 will once again be over 5% and increase to 7% in 2014.

The IEA chief executive gave a strong cautionary warning concerning the lack of growth in exports to the fast growing BRICS markets, where exports fell for the second consecutive year, he went on to say; ’’Our competitors in other EU countries have rapidly grown their exports to the BRICS countries to the point that they now account for 22% of total EU 27 exports, whereas exports from Ireland still only account for 4% of total Irish exports. This is a very worrying trend as 90% of global trade growth is expect to come from the emerging  markets outside of the EU over the next decade ‘’

John Whelan  commented further ;’’The Irish Government must expand its efforts to support Irish exporters in the emerging markets with more Trade Missions and  more embassies  with  more commercial support staff from EI, Bord Bia and IDA on the ground in these markets . There is no  low cost silver bullet to expand in these markets , we must all put in the hard miles and shift our resources accordingly , if we are to keep the export growth going in the long term.’’

2013 Forecast

The Irish Exporters Association is forecasting a 2% growth in manufactured goods exports and an 8% growth in services exports in 2013.  Mr Whelan noted that the above forecasts make the assumption that the IDA will maintain its recent enviable record of attracting new global services corporations to Ireland as well as retaining those currently operating here. He added that achieving the forecasts was also dependent on an early resolution to the Eurozone economic crisis. Regarding the economic situation in the United States, Mr Whelan noted that now that the ‘fiscal cliff’ has been avoided GDPgrowth in that market is projected at 2% in 2013 before rising to 2.8% in 2014, which should enable a return to growth in our exports to the US in 2013 .

Mr Whelan said that the Eurozone crisis has been dragging on for some five years and policies of both the Commission and Parliament have been poorly structured and ineffective in tackling the deep-rooted imbalances across the euro area and have not done enough to ensure long-term sustainability of the Eurozone.  “The IEA believes that more needs to be done to tackle negative links in the euro area between public finances and bank solvency,” said Mr Whelan.  The IEA believes that failure to do so will only increase the risk that some countries may have to leave the euro and if that happens there is a potential that the Eurozone region will fragment pushing industry into another downward spiral resulting in a much deeper global recession.  The Irish Exporters Association believes that it would be prudent for the Irish Government to devise a disaster recovery plan to deal with the possibility that some member states may exit the Eurozone and in the process create major tidal waves of instability.  Mr Whelan concluded: “With the continued economic threats within the EU the Irish Government and state promotional agencies would be well advised to further expand the supportive efforts to enable Irish businesses to expand in the fast growing emerging markets of Asia as detailed in the IEA’s Asia Trade Strategy, as well as in the fast growing African, Turkish and Russian markets.”